African Voices Celebrates 20 Years With Schomburg Exhibit

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African Voices has presented more than 800 community events, including the annual Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival & Lecture Series

[Business: A Magazine Celebration]

Magazine’s legacy exhibition at Schomburg Center has cover art by Jacob Lawrence, Catlett tribute, Faith Ringgold, Sonia Sanchez, arts workshops

Elizabeth Catlett, Jacob Lawrence, Faith Ringgold, Ademola Olugebefola, Otto Neals and Verna Hart are among the 14 artists featured in the exhibition, From Cover to Cover: 20 Years of African Voices Magazine presented  DECEMBER 8th – JANUARY 19th at the historic Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. The Center is located at 515 Malcolm X Blvd. (135th St. & Lenox Ave) in Harlem. 

For information call African Voices at 212-865-2982 or contact the Schomburg at 212-491-2040 or schomburgcenter.eventbrite.com

“We are extremely honored to have this exhibition hosted by the renowned Schomburg Center,” said African Voices publisher Carolyn Butts. “I’ve always considered the magazine’s front and back covers as our own little gallery. Seeing some of these covers presented in large format at the Schomburg is an affirmation of the role a small publication can play in documenting history.”

Curated by painter, author and Rush Philanthropic Arts co-founder Danny Simmons, From Cover to Cover is a legacy exhibition, presenting a sampling of the art gracing the covers of African Voices for two decades. Other selected artists are Otto Neals, Jimmy James Greene, Sheila Prevost, Danny Simmons, Francks F. Déceús, Mirlande Jean-Gilles, James Top, Clymenza Hawkins and Dirk Joseph. Each artist will display two additional works, some of which were culled from the Schomburg’s own formidable collection.  This allows the public a rare opportunity to see important works by treasured artists that is not normally on display. The exhibition also displays archival photos, posters and other items from the magazine’s history.

“Partnering with the Schomburg, we’re celebrating 20 years of African Voices magazine’s commitment to the arts and the gracing of its covers with outstanding visual art,” said Simmons. “The core of the show is the creation of large-scale reproductions of some of the publication’s most notable covers. I’m proud to be an African Voices cover artist and the curator of this great show.”

The public is invited to a series of free exhibition-related events. To attend, register through the Schomburg Center. Joining us on Saturday, Dec. 8th at 6pm will be Sonia Sanchez, revered poet and a former African Voices guest editor. On Friday, Dec. 14th at 6pm enjoy a curator-led Artists Talk with Verna Hart, Francks Déceús, Faith Ringgold and Ademola Olugebefola discussing their work and the role of the artist in today’s society.  Children’s book illustrator and fine artist Javaka Steptoe leads the Celebrating Tar Beach Family Workshop on Saturday, Dec. 15th at 4pm. The fun art and holiday gift-making session is inspired by Faith Ringgold’s celebrated children’s book. On Saturday, Jan. 5th at 4pm, Harlem-based quilt artist Laura R. Gadson will lead a Quilt-Making Workshop inspired by From Cover to Cover. Parents and kids will begin a simple block-quilt honoring family and community ties.

For My People: A Musical & Poetic Tribute to Elizabeth Catlett concludes the From Cover to Cover programming on Saturday, Jan 12th at 6pm. Inspired by the Civil Rights era, the late Elizabeth Catlett became one of the world’s most treasured artists of the 20th century, defining the courage, hope and beauty of Black life in the United States and in Mexico. Join scholars, poets and artists remembering her life and art!

Founded by publisher Carolyn A. Butts with Maitefa Angaza serving as current managing editor, African Voices magazine is one of the few remaining publications of its kind. Over the years it’s showcased the work of more than 700 literary and visual artists of the African Diaspora. Among the many great writers published alongside emerging scribes, are: Henry Dumas, Sonia Sanchez, Amiri Baraka, Robert Hayden, Audre Lorde, Elizabeth Alexander, Junot Díaz, asha bandele, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Nalo Hopkinson, Ed Bullins, Sandra Maria Estevez, Saul Williams, Kevin Powell, Tracie Morris, Tony Medina, Suheir Hamad, Gary Johnston, Darryl Holmes, David Mills, Jessica Care Moore, Sharif Simmons, Layding Kaliba, the magazine’s longtime poetry editor and ardent supporter and Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie, current poetry editor.

John Biggers, Damali Miller, Derick Cross, Aaron McGruder and Sibila Vargas are among the many other visual artists who have been featured in the magazine and on its covers, along with photographers Marilyn Nance, Chester Higgins, Mel Wright, Ron Campbell and others.

The magazine is the lead project of African Voices Communications, Inc., which has presented more than 800 community events, including the annual Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival & Lecture Series (www.reelsisters.org), Rhymes, Rhythms & Rituals, (a poetry-in-the park series), the Cultural Circle Conference, (a writer’s forum) and Get Your Read On! (the magazine’s literacy program for young people in low-income communities). The Ellie Charles Artists Awards fundraising benefit has honored Toni Morrison, Gordon Parks, Walter Mosley, Sonia Sanchez, Wole Soyinka, Herb Boyd, Nancy Wilson, Woodie King Jr., Imhotep Gary Byrd and others for outstanding service to the arts and to the community.

African Voices has coordinated several art exhibitions over the years and has dedicated special issues to such subjects as photography, jazz, theater and poetry. The magazine was also first to emulate the famous Harlem photograph by coordinating the shooting of “A Great Day in Theater,” bringing together Douglas Turner Ward, Woodie King Jr., P.J. Gibson, Amiri Baraka, Richard Wesley, Paul Carter Harrison, Ebony Joann, Melvin Van Peebles, Nabii Faison and other critical figures in Black theater in the U.S., in Harlem’s Marcus Garvey Park in 2010.

Those involved in presenting African Voices to the public are excited about this opportunity to share their labor of love. They’re finding that From Cover to Cover inspires reflection as the publication welcomes new technological platforms for connecting with lovers of the arts across the globe. They hope visitors to the exhibition will also take pride and creative action.


FOR INFORMATION Maitefa Angaza  majh4real@gmail.com

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